Kogi Govt Rescues 39 Abandoned Babies, Prosecute 15 Child Abuse Offenders

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Kogi state government has rescued 39 abandoned babies by their mother and prosecuted a number  of 15 child abuse offenders within three and half years.

The Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Bolanle Amupitan disclosed this in Lokoja on Monday to journalists shortly after declaring open a 3-day training program on Child Safety and Protection for social welfare workers across the state and staff of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.

She said her ministry had to partner with ActionAid Nigeria to give more bite to the ongoing onslaught by the present administration under Governor Yahaya Bello on the increasing cases of child abuse in the society, stressing that the present situation where children are treated unjustly is no longer acceptable, and offenders cannot go unpunished any longer.

Amupitan said the 39 rescued abandoned babies were cases of child abandonment at birth or infant stages and those got from madwomen.

The commissioner added that 15 offenders  that were prosecuted were arrested for child abuse which came in form of  early marriage and violent related cases, while many of such cases are currently being treated at the related law court.

She said the essence of the programme is to equip social welfare workers and Staff of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in the state to know their right, duty or what to do when child’s right is violated in their various domains.

She stressed further that because of proactive measures and stand of the current government, cases of violation of child right or abuse has reduced drastically.

“Children safety, protection and development are not just obligatory but fundamental to any responsible government globally. The responsibility of course is our mandate and core functions which must be handled professionally with all seriousness it deserves,” she said.

Citing example of the controversial teenage  marriage of a 13-year old girl in Ofu Local government, rescue of an abandoned a day old baby at Otokiti village, a suburb of Lokoja, and arrest and prosecution of a woman in Lokoja that poured acid on a kid in her custody as many of other issues she had handled and resolved.

She said that many orphanage homes operating in the state lack necessary facilities, and they will be checked and made to conform with acceptable best practices.

While she debunked the erroneous news being peddled round that the Otokiti abandoned baby has been sold out for N1million, Amupitan stated that the said baby is with them at the orphanage home, adding that the ministry will soon embark on auditing orphanage homes to know those kids to be adopted or returned to their original  owner.

“The abandoned Otokiti baby is a sad story.  We got the baby on October 8, with maggot infested all over her. We reported to the police, treated the baby and moved her to orphanage home. Due to public out cry, we decided to hand the baby back to the owner, but the Plateau-born mother refused, saying she doesn’t need the baby. The story of selling the baby at N1million is false,” she expressed.

However, the ActionAid Nigeria representative, Halima Sedeeq, who is also the state acting Executive director Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID), said the safety of children is a cardinal sector  of focus and as such the international non governmental organisation has to partners with the state government via the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to realise that aim. 

She said the organization  is partnering with the government to address, among others, the issue of early child or teenage marriage that is being fueled by the country culture and religion, and violation of fundamental right of children in the society.

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